You are hereby granted permission to
You can opt out of conversations, turn down offers and say no thanks to requests–just because you’re not up for it doesn’t mean you don’t care.
When you care about people’s feelings and life events, you might tend to float more toward meeting their needs and expectations of you, than meeting your own needs or desires.
It happens to big-hearted, polite people all the time: you forget you are not obligated.
If you are being confided in, you might feel obligated to be sympathetic. But what if you’re not? What if you disagree with someone’s conclusions, or don’t feel their complaints are valid–you’re allowed to draw a boundary then, right?
Right. You can smile at your neighbors across the fence but you don’t have to be in every conversation. You can care about people and wish them well, and still at the same time, say you’d rather not discuss the topic.
These are simple boundaries which you are permitted to draw for yourself.
If you are asked for favors or asked for advice, it is your prerogative to decide if that is something you feel comfortable offering. If your true answer is no, if it’s too much for you, or bad timing, or whatever, you’re allowed to draw a boundary there, too.
Of course under some circumstances you will help others the best you can, according to how you’re managing your own priorities at the time. When you’re a good person who makes room to give, it’s still up to you to decide what and when your giving happens.
Drawing lines for yourself isn’t about closing yourself off or being selfish. It’s about preserving your own wellness and interacting in ways you believe in. We all have a right to that much.
For that reason, not everyone will be there for you when you need someone, or treat you the way you wish, or be open to all your ideas. There are lines to be drawn for how we spend our time, express ourselves, and relate to others. You have permission to draw them cheerfully and gently. You also have permission to draw them firmly in no uncertain terms when needed.
You can be a kind person, and not go there. You can be a helpful person, but not be available. You can see over the fence, but you’re not obligated to open the gate.
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